What is feedback, and why do we need it in therapy?

| August 12, 2014
myoutcomes evidence based therapy

What is feedback and Why do we need feedback in therapy?

Being associated with an organization that focuses so much on evidence based therapy I naturally got inquisitive about how did all this start? I mean who coined the term feedback, why and how was it used initially, how much is it being used in our day to day lives etc.?

And as with everything else, in order to satiate my thirst for knowledge I began my information gathering expedition and turned to my good old erudite friend Google for answers.

The first phrase typed was: What is feedback?

According to Wikipedia, feedback is a process in which information about the past or the present influences the same phenomenon in the present or future.

Hang on; did I just read past, present and future in the same sentence!? This definition not only explains what feedback means but also spells out the importance of feedback as this is something that can influence the present and also the future. It thereby obliterates the need to delve into the second logical question, why feedback? (Why is it important to get feedback?)

But I now had another second question and that was how did the term feedback originate? Being a student of science I had a strong hunch that just like me, feedback must also have some relation with science. And boy, wasn't I right! Though the phrase “to feed back” was in use as early as 1860s in US, the term “feed-back” was coined in 1909 by Nobel laureate Karl Ferdinand Braun to refer to coupling between components of an electronic circuit. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedback). The distinct word “feedback” was however born in 1920 to describe the action of feeding back the signal from output to input and thus began its journey.

The process of feedback has various applications some of which are critical to our very existence. Biological systems contain many type of regulatory circuits that aid normal functioning of our body. Besides, feedback is used in many more fields like mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, social sciences, economics and finance, world system development, government, administration, organizations, education institutions etc.

Then why not in behavioural health?

Why is it difficult for therapists to understand the value feedback has to offer to their therapy? Isn't it only logical that only when therapists know the course or the direction that their therapy is taking; will they be able to provide apt treatment? Is it also not apparent that the best source of this information will be the client himself who is undergoing the treatment? The more I read, the clearer it became that I am on the right path; the right path of spreading the right message of applying feedback informed treatment in order to increase therapy effectiveness.

In order to know more about the practical application of feedback in therapy, visit http://myoutcomes.com/ or call us 1-877-763-4775 (international toll free).

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Category: Advancing Outcome Informed Therapy Video Series

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